Walt Disney World Pet Peeves
By Dave Shute
Well, as much as I love Walt Disney World, I’ve got a million pet peeves.
In this post, though, I’m gonna focus on two with the biggest impact on first time family visitors to Walt Disney World, and a third that’s for returning visitors:
- FASTPASS issues
- Dining issues, and
- Pet issues…hey, it is “pet” peeves, after all!
PET PEEVE: FASTPASSES
Disney’s FASTPASS program is a godsend for all visitors.
My issue with it is that it is not better known to first time visitors. Anyone scooting through the FASTPASS return line can tell from some of the looks they are getting that not everyone understands that this service is free and included in every ticket.
Disney promotes and explains FASTPASSES in its park maps…but there’s so much stuff in the maps that apparently the material doesn’t get through.
This may be intentional, as talking about FASTPASSES means talking about crowds and waits–the number one dissatisfiers at Walt Disney World–but I doubt it.
I’d like to see Disney do more to make it clearer that FASTPASSES are free and open to everyone with a ticket.
- It could put up signs in various spots in the parks explaining FASTPASSES
- Add flyers about the program to the park entrances where it already stocks maps and times guides, and
- Stick such flyers into the pile of paper that Disney World resort hotel guests get at registration
Moreover, while taking some risk of offending the “Occupy Fantasyland” crowd, I’d like to see the option to buy the equivalent of Universal Express (but not freezing out everyone who doesn’t pay or stay at a Universal hotel, the way Universal does).
There is an expensive workaround that will get you more FASTPASSES faster. And I suppose that Disney’s NextGen project will change all the ground rules…but still I’d like to see these changes in the meantime.
PET PEEVE: THE DINING PLAN
I’ve recommended the dining plan to first time visitors following the itineraries on this site for years.
But I still have some pet peeves about it–it’s hard to explain, hard to use, and has resulted in it being hard to get reservations at many fun Disney World restaurants unless you know to start booking 180 days in advance.
I don’t have any great solutions to this other than working with a travel agent like my friends at Destinations in Florida to outsource dealing with some of the complexity. But this won’t help with the 180 day issue.
There’s a few bright spots out there.
Disney has begun imposing some penalties on no-shows at some restaurants. And getting in to at least something is easier than many think– Tom Bricker has a great post on alternatives to booking 180 days in advance on the TouringPlans.com blog, but it’s no real help for the best-loved meals.
The thought the keeps going through my mind–and I’m not at all sure it’s a good one–is for Disney World to reserve only half the capacity of its restaurants, leaving the other half for walk-ups.
In this way restaurants become like FASTPASS rides–half their capacity goes to those willing to commit to a time, and half to those who are willing to wait.
Like I said, I’m not sure if this is a good idea. It may even be a step back. But in a way, Disney’s NextGen project will be applying the “advance reservations” concept to rides…so why not apply the FASTPASS concept to restaurants…?
Ok, this one is NOT for first time visitors, who have enough to manage without worrying about their pets.
But I do wish Walt Disney World was more pet friendly.
Yes, Disney welcomes pets in some campsite loops at Fort Wilderness, and has opened a new overnight facility Best Friends Pet Care on Bonnet Creek.
Some of the Best Friends pet spaces are bigger than studios at Bay Lake Tower!
Even so, no Walt Disney World resort hotel with walls welcomes pets.
The Universal hotels all welcome pets, and that Disney World hotels don’t has to be a pet peeve.
The older we get, the more we wish we didn’t have to leave our dogs behind when we visit…that’s them (and one of our cats) on the world’s smallest king size bed in the photo above.
See the image on the right for both of them!
I’m not suggesting that Pansy be part of any new pet policy…but I do wish that Disney World would follow Universal’s lead for smaller pets.
MORE PET PEEVES FROM MAGICAL BLOGORAIL TEAL
Thank you for joining me today. Your next stop on the Magical Blogorail Loop is My Dreams of Disney.
Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail loop should you happen to have to make a stop along the way and want to reboard:
- 1st Stop ~ The World of Deej
- 2nd Stop ~ yourfirstvisit.net
- 3rd Stop ~ My Dreams of Disney
- 4th Stop ~ Disney Lovin’ Spectrum Mom
- Final Stop ~ Capturing Magical Memories